OPINION: A United Kingdom

Michael French
OPINION: A United Kingdom

An 'Annual General Meeting’ doesn’t sound like the most exciting event on the industry calendar. But I tell you, as a fly on the wall observer, UKIE’s AGM last week was excellent.

Ensconced in a private cinema at Warner Bros’ London HQ, UKIE’s presentation displayed genuine progression, new strategies, and forward-thinking plans.It proved all the things UKIE has been striving to achieve over the last three years, but until now hadn’t quite pulled off. 

As one other attendee told me, “this was the best AGM ever – bigger, better, bolder and more in-depth”.

One key development not mentioned in my story on the front page included the naming of new board members. Two women have (finally!) made it onto the UKIE Board – Dawn Paine (Nintendo) and Sarah Rogers (NCsoft). Meanwhile new Activision UK head Peter Hepworth has taken a Board role, too.

That this was his first above-the-line action in the wider industry is a testament to how UKIE has fulfilled the promises it made with its rebranding a year ago. It finally feels relevant, and part of the industry – not just its valiant defender.

Fresh blood, fresh ideas, and fresh thinking. A show of real power at a time when Tiga, frankly, has talked itself into a rut by focusing solely on often negative finance and skills issues facing UK studios. This week UKIE has come close to pulling the rug out from under its ‘rival’ organisation. And if this is what’s going on there without a chief exec to lead the strategy, imagine what could happen with an ‘official’ leader to drive it further.

ANGRY BIRDS NESTLE IN

Can you believe that Angry Birds, which by developer Rovio’s reckoning is now the most downloaded and played game in the world, actually came out two years ago?

In those seemingly-brief 24 months, the game has been released for every format under the sun: iOS, webOS, Android, Symbian, PSP, PS3, OS X, Windows, WebGL, Windows Phone 7… even Google Plus.

All formats, that is, except one: retail. So the news that retailers can now sell the game itself should be warmly received. Three games will eventually be out, and no doubt sell through the mainstream and specialist channels Focus Multimedia has worked so well.

And don’t forget what a testament this is to Focus itself. To some MCV readers, Focus is ‘just that budget games firm’. Yet to Rovio, one of the most ambitious games companies on the planet, they are the best choice for distributing Angry Birds on disc.

Take that, EA Partners.

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Tags: UKIE , Opinion , angry birds , agm

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